Urban planning often feels like a meaningless buzzword – something governments might throw out for show. But with the Productivity Commission's latest report, Cut to the Chase: Better Urban Planning, there are some tangible goals that can help increase housing supply, generally improving housing markets.
So how does it help those with real estate on the North Shore?
One of the main problems for people buying property on the North Shore is demand outweighing supply to an overwhelming degree. While it's great that so many people want to live here, balancing supply with demand can create a much healthier rate of growth.
The Productivity Commission thinks one way to achieve this is through price-trigger mechanisms for local councils, which "credibly guarantee that councils will permit enough development capacity to meet demand at reasonable prices".
In practice, this could mean councils pay certain taxes or fees depending on the level of ongoing development they facilitate. Of course, this would ideally be tailored to each council area – land restrictions in certain areas on the North Shore mean opening up new developments is difficult.
This next point from the Productivity Commission talks about "out-of-sequence developments" – essentially projects that finish ahead of time or otherwise outside the planned schedule.
The idea that the PC puts forward is that urban planners should create competitive land markets, which entice more private sector funding to push projects forward and get them done faster – out of sequence. This theoretically takes a load off council's shoulders, especially with regard to providing infrastructure. More business hubs, better housing developments, faster growth all round.
At the moment, this probably all sounds quite abstract – and it is. But it's papers like this from the Productivity Commission that outline how our suburbs and cities will grow in the future, which is important for everyone. More housing supply helps a market grow, which in turn has a positive impact on sale prices. They also show us how local business and infrastructure can receive funding and manpower, sustaining micro-economies.
As the Unitary Plan comes into fruition, it'll be interesting to see how government bodies incentivise private investment or what these price triggers for local councils producing projects will be. Hopefully it creates a wealth of opportunities for more real estate right across the North Shore.
If you have any general questions about the local market or how these supply and demand factors work, don't hesitate to get in touch with the team at Ray White Takapuna.